Two years after it took the ax to a range of employee benefits, Microsoft
is introducing new perks for its staff.
The plan, known as MyMicrosoft, was unveiled to the Redmond, Wash., masses
A Microsoft representative said that the human resources team at the software
maker "spent a great deal of time over the past year gathering employee feedback
from all over the world about their experiences at Microsoft. The feedback was
instrumental in helping shape the new MyMicrosoft program".
Among the new incentives are a management development program to boost
managers' training, more investment in the staff share plan, and a career model
framework to apply to all Microsoft employees globally.
As part of the program, the company is promising employees a greater emphasis
on a nicer working environment.
Microsoft introduced other lifestyle services for its geeks, including
laundry, dry cleaning and grocery delivery--although it won't actually be paying
for the services itself, just giving staff on-site access to them.
It also revealed that "the towels are back," referring to the popular
towel-laundering service for sweaty staff washing at work after exercising or
cycling in to campus, a perk that was axed in the benefits
cull in 2004.
Those cutbacks followed a call by Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer for the software giant to make US$1 billion worth of cuts. At the
time, he warned that even Microsoft's free soda policy was under review.
Now, after a series of high-profile defections, including that of Kai-Fu
Lee, who founded Microsoft's Chinese Labs, to Google, Microsoft is reversing
its earlier stance.
It still has some way to go, though, to rival the alleged
charms of the California GooglePlex. The search giant's headquarters has its
own doctors, child day care centers and free gourmet meals at one of the four
themed dining areas on campus.
Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.